Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani (1909-1977CE) is the founder of the group "Hizb ut-Tahrir", the picture on the right - taken in his early years - indicates the traditional Azhari, Ash'ari early upbringing. He was an Ash'ari in aqidah (mixed with some of usool of the Mu'tazilah, Murji'ah and Qadariyyah). He is of Palestinian origin, coming from a Sufi family background. His maternal grandfather was Yusuf bin Ismaa'eel an-Nabahani, a fervent adherent of Tasawwuf and one who authored a book, "Shawaahid ul-Haqq fil-Istighaathah bi Sayyid il-Khalq", arguing for the justification of seeking and calling upon the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) for rescue from calamity in those things in which only Allaah has power and ability. Given this family background (Ash'ari Sufi with Mu'tazili, Qadariyy usool) it is not surprising to see that in all the books of Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani, the grandson, the discussion of Tawhid barely extends further than merely affirming Allaah's existence and around nine or ten attributes (which is not the Tawhid that the Messengers came to establish).
Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani authored a range of books outlining his own political philosophy including "Nidhaam ul-Islaam" and "ash-Shakhsiyyah al-Islaamiyyah". Like those before him such as Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, an-Nabahani was an Ash'ari, Maturidi in his aqidah and carried some of the usool of the Mu'tazilah, and Ash'ariyyah in his works. His goal, just like previous Ash'arites such as Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, was the restoration of the khilaafah, and he just like them, considered all Muslim lands to be lands of kufr in which a revolution, ideological or otherwise, was obligatory. All of these ideologies of the 20th century came from Ash'ari, Maturidi, [Sufi] agitators who were far away from the creed (aqidah) of the Salaf, and were influenced - in their methodologies of reform - by the practical elements of the prevailing secular ideologies of their time, in particular Marxism and Leninism. When we come to realize that al-Nabahani was himself a Ba'thist Communist, his political ideology should no longer be surprising.
Taqi al-Din al-Nabahani and His Ba'thist Communist Heritage Which Was the Basis For His Political Party, Hizb al-Tahrir
In the Encyclopedia of Islamic Movements in the Arabic Nation, Turkey and Iran, of Dr. Ahmad al-Mawsili, there occurs under an-Nabhani's entry (p. 407):
تبنى لفترة من الوقت عقيدة حزب البعث
For a period of time, he adopted the aqidah of Hizb ul-Ba'th (the Ba'th Party).
Abdullaah at-Tall was an Arab Nationalist and Ba'thist, and he writes in his memoirs, referring to his sending of an-Nabahani to Damascus as part of a plan for a military coup, which eventually failed, and this is documented by him in his memoirs (كارثة فلسطين), "Catastrophe of Palestine" (1/591):
فاخترت شخصين كانا موضع ثقتي، وتربطهما صداقة متينة وهما: السيد عبد الله الريماوي، والشيخ (تقي الدين النبهاني). وحمّلتهما جواز سفري السياسي ليقدماه للزعيم حسني الزعيم، كإشارة متفق عليها بيننا، وتحرك الرسولان إلى دمشق في 7/5/1949، بحجة شراء ورق لجريدة البعث
I chose two individuals in whom I placed my trust, and who were tied together with very strong friendship, and they are as-Sayyid Abdullaah ar-Rimaawee and the Shaykh, Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani. I tasked them with taking my political passport so that they can present it to the leader, Husni az-Za'eem, as an agreed upon gesture between us. And so these two messengers went to Damascus on 7/5/1949 with the reason (excuse) of purchasing paper for [publication of] the Ba'th Magazine.
Az-Za'eem was executed in August 1949 after the failed military coup in Syria (after having already launched a successful bloodless coup earlier in the year in March). This gives an interesting insight into the colorful background of individuals like an-Nabahani and shows their background ideological nurturing upon secular revolutionary ideologies, such as Ba'thism (Socialism for the Arabs) which - without any shadow of doubt - strongly influenced their own political philosophies that were clothed with the garb of Islaam.
In the book, (الشيخ تقي الدين النبهاني داعية الخلافة الإسلامية), 'Shaykh Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani, the Caller of the Islamic Caliphate', Hisham Ulaywan (2009), also documents the same, saying:
وبعد نجاح الانقلاب العسكري في سوريا بقيادة حسني الزعيم (1897-1949) يوم 30 آذار/مارس 1949، بُحثت مسألة إسقاط النظام الأردني بانقلاب عسكري مماثل، بين عبد الله التل وعبد الله الريماوي وتقي الدين النبهاني. وتوجّه الريماوي والنبهاني إلى دمشق برسالة من التل إلى الزعيم، وذلك قبل أن يفرّ التل لاجئاً سياسياً إلى مصر في العاشر من تشرين الأول/أكتوبر
After the success of the military coup in Syria under the leadership of Husni az-Za'eem (1897-1949), on 30th March 1949, the issue of removing the Jordanian system (of government) through a similar military coup was discussed between Abdullah at-Tall, Abdullaah ar-Rimaawee and Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani. And ar-Rimaawee and an-Nabahani turned to Damascus with a message from at-Tall to az-Za'eem, and this was before Abdullaah at-Tall fled, seeking political asylum in Egypt in October 1949.
Ulaywan also states that it is not possible to reject the plausibility that an-Nabahani was involved with some of the nationalistic parties, he states:
لا يمكن رفض احتمال أن يكون النبهاني قد نشط سراً في إحدى المجموعات القومية الصغيرة
... it is not possible to reject the plausiblity that an-Nabahani was raised (i.e. cultivated) secretly in one of the small nationalistic groups...
And he cites as evidence for this, an-Nabahani's involvement with the likes of at-Tall and ar-Rimaawee and also his participation with the Arab Nationalist Movement in their gatherings in Haifa in 1947. The author of "Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islamee wat-Tadleel as-Siyaasee" cites the following (p. 9) from Dr. Abdul-Azeez al-Khayyaat (pictured right) - a former Jordanian government minister, originally from Palestine and graduated from al-Azhar, (similar to an-Nabahani), he was amongst the founders of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen in Jordan and Palestine, died in November 2011 - this is what is cited from al-Khayyaat:
وقد أكد نزعة الشيخ (تقي الدين النبهاني) القومية، رفيق دربه، وزير الأوقاف الأردني السابق، الدكتور عبد العزيز الخياط حيث قال عنه: <<وكان حديثه ضبابياً، إذ كان يدعو إلى العروبة أكثر من دعوته إلى الإسلام>>. وبعدها بقليل، أشار الخياط إلى قيام النبهاني بكتابة رسالة بعنوان: <<رسالة العرب>>. ثم قال بخصوص فكرته لتشكيل جماعة إسلامية واحدة: <<كان همّي ـ أي الخياط ـ العمل على توحيد الفكرتين: عند النبهاني (القومية)، ولدى الإخوان المسلمين (الإسلامية)>>اهـ
The Jordanian Minister of 'Awqaaf, Dr. Abdul-Aziz al-Khayyaat stated about an-Nabahani, "His speech used to be very hazy, since he used to call to Arabism more than his call to Islaam", and after mentioning the book written by an-Nabahani "Risaalat ul-'Arab" he (al-Khayyaat) stated about his own designs to formulate an Islamic party, "My interest was to work to unite the two ideas, the (one) with an-Nabahani (nationalistic) and the (one) with al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (Islamic)."
And he indicates the source for this as:
مجلة الوسط، العدد (180) بتاريخ 10/7/1995م، ص33.
Which is the magazine, "al-Wasat", no. 180, dated 10/7/1995, p. 33.
Hizb ul-Ba'th (The Ba'th Party) and Hizb ut-Tahrir
Michel Aflaq (d. 1989) is the Greek Orthodox Christian who founded Ba'thism and the Ba'th Party (in Syria), an ideology of Socialist (Communist), Arab Nationalism. He was a contemporary of an-Nabahani.
In the book, (الشيخ تقي الدين النبهاني داعية الخلافة الإسلامية), 'Shaykh Taqi ud-Din an-Nabahani, the Caller of the Islamic Caliphate', Hisham Ulaywan (2009) notes, under the heading of "an-Nabahani and Aflaq" in which he looks at the resemblance between ideas of the two:
بل إنّ النبهاني الذي انتقد طريقة عمل الإخوان (التكتل الجمعي)، اعتمد طريقة التكتل الحزبي، وشابَهَ في بناء حزب التحرير تجربة العمل السري المعقّد للتنظيمات القومية
Rather, an-Nabahani who criticized the way of action of al-Ikhwan [al-Muslimoon] of the formation of (all people) into a mass, he (himself) depended upon the (route of) party-formation and in setting up Hizb ut-Tahrir he resembled (i.e. borrowed) from the secretive practical experience intertwined with the (Arab) nationalistic organizations.
He then mentions an-Nabahani's attendance at the Arab Nationalist Party's meeting in Haifa in 1947, and also many nationalistic and secret organizations that were present in the region, he then says:
وبالإضافة إلى التشابه التنظيمي بين حزب التحرير والأحزاب القومية، يمكن ملاحظة أوجه شبه في المضمون والمصطلح، بين خطاب ميشال عفلق مؤسس حزب البعث نفسه وخطاب النبهاني لا سيما قبل تأسيسه حزب التحرير
And in addition to the structural (organizational) resemblance between Hizb ut-Tahrir and the (Arab) nationalistic parties, it is possible to note the aspects of resemblance in content and terminology between the discourse of Michel Aflaq, the founder of al-Ba'th himself, and the discourse of an-Nabahani, especially (in the period) before his founding of Hizb ut-Tahrir...
And then Ulaywan mentions some similarities between the discourses of the two ideologues, quoting from their statements. As we stated earlier, the circumstances and environment in which an-Nabahani was present and the circles within which he mixed and his very strong ties to certain Ba'thists and (Arab) nationalists, makes it impossible to deny that he was influenced by that background cultivation in the formation of his party, its structure, its goals and mode of operation.
Al-Nabahani, (like Sayyid Qutb) was affected by the revolutionary Communist, Marxist movements, if not directly, then at least indirectly as he was involved with Hizb al-Ba'th and also with nationalistic movements. His party, Hizb al-Tahrir, appears to mimick Hizb al-Ba'th, differing in the final objective, but adopting all the methods and structures typical of political and nationalist parties of that time which took to adopting secrecy and rigid tight internal structures as fundamental elements upon which their success would be determined. Like Sayyid Qutb, its another example of an Ash'ari thinker borrowing from the practical elements of Marxism, Leninism and pushing that "fikr" (ideology) onto Islam.